A Durham Region elementary school teacher was charged with numerous child pornography related offences Wednesday, after police allege he posed as a teenage girl and lured young boys into undressing on their webcams.
Investigators with the Durham Regional Police Service arrested Stephen Martin, 38, after executing a search warrant at his Oshawa home. Officers seized several computers for further investigation, and found they housed multiple images of child pornography.
Officers accuse the male teacher of posing on Facebook as a young woman named Ashley Matthews. They allege he then asked young boys to expose themselves or send him sexually explicit images.
“He set up a number of profiles posing as this young girl and he’s using Facebook as a venue to contact young males, and encourage them to do these kind of activities on their webcams,” Detective Randy Norton told 680News.
Martin has been a teacher at several schools in Durham since 1998, but police have received no indication he ever approached any children at the schools.
He most recently worked at Dr. C.F. Cannon Public School in Oshawa, and worked at Norman G. Powers Public School, also in Oshawa, before that.
This incident should serve as a stark reminder for parents to pay attention to their child’s online habits, according to Durham police.
“It should be a warning to parents that the fact is, they should be keeping up on what their kids are doing on Facebook and MSN, who their friends are in their contact list, ensuring that it’s not people they don’t know, because you just don’t know who you’re talking to on the other side,” Norton said.
Investigators first got wind of the issue after a family contacted police with concerns.
“(The family) brought it forward to us. We started the investigation and ended up getting into an undercover operation which we worked on, trying to identify Mr. Martin,” Norton said. “At the time all his profiles were of females, through the undercover operation we were able to pinpoint where it was coming from.”
Martin, of Magnolia Avenue in Oshawa, was charged with two counts of luring and invitation to sexual touching, as well as possession of and making child pornography. He was held for a bail hearing.
The names of victims have not been released, and police are searching to ensure there are no other victims. Parents are encouraged to contact Durham police with any further information should it arise.
Investigators have requested parents and caregivers talk to their children if they attended any of the following schools Martin taught at:
- Dr. C.F. Cannon Public School, 2010 to present
- Norman G. Powers Public School, 2009/2010
- Sir William Stephenson Public School, 2004/2009
- William Dunbar Public School, 2000/2004
- Sir John A McDonald, 1999/2000
- Cadarackque Public School, 1999
The following is a list of online aliases which the accused has used over several months:
- Ashley_m69, tori.the.tiger